More 9/11 calls released

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NEW YORK (AP) – With chaos all around him in the World Trade Center, fire safety officer Larry Boisseau calmly called 911 from the south tower lobby, spelling his name and even offering directions to the burning building.

Four minutes after he hung up, the building collapsed, killing Boisseau at his command post in the lobby.

His 911 call was one of 19 the city released Friday following a lawsuit filed by The New York Times and some victims’ families. The city said it had recently discovered the tapes.

Portions of 15 of the calls had been previously released. The new information includes calls taken by police operators before they transferred the calls to Fire Department dispatchers.

Boisseau’s call is one of only two released Friday in which the caller’s voice could be heard. His side of the call was released because he was on the job at the time of the call, as a fire safety director for OCS Security.

In recent years, the city has released hours of emergency calls made from in and around the trade center on Sept. 11, 2001.

The batch of recordings released Friday also included a 27-minute telephone call from trade center victim Melissa Doi. Her call was made public last year because it was played at the trial of Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.

Colleagues said Boisseau spent part of that morning helping rescue dozens of children who evacuated from a nearby day care center.

He called 911 at 9:52 a.m.

“Two World Trade Center. We have injured people in the lobby of the building. They need medical attention,” he said.

The police operator tried to reach emergency services for Boisseau, but the call went unanswered for nearly three minutes.

In the background, another voice can be heard. “The Pentagon’s on fire, too. I don’t know if that’s true.” Boisseau says, “Wow.”

Boisseau later describes the exact location of the burning south tower – “It’s between Liberty Street and Church Street” – spells his name and asks the operator to keep trying.

“I kind of gotta get going. This is my job,” said Boisseau, 36, of Freehold, N.J.

The batch of recordings released Friday also included a 27-minute telephone call from trade center victim Melissa Doi. Her call was made public last year because it was played at the trial of Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.

The rest of the new calls include only the voices of operators, who tried to calm down callers trapped on the 84th floor, the 89th floor, the 93rd floor, the 105th floor. Some operators became exasperated, and others weren’t sure how to advise trapped callers.

“He wants to know what to do,” one police operator asked a colleague after taking the call of someone on the 105th floor of the south tower. “Should he break the windows?”

Another operator tried to relay information about a man on the 93rd floor of the north tower. “They have a lot of smoke … but they still can breathe some,” the police operator tells a fire dispatcher.

Five people besides Boisseau and Doi were identified on the calls released Friday, but their names were not made public. The complete recordings of those calls were sent to their families, who could later decide to make the other side of the calls public.

In March, the city released transcripts of 130 calls from people trapped in the towers. In August, more than 1,600 previously undisclosed calls were released. And a year earlier, thousands of pages of emergency workers’ oral histories and radio transmissions were made public.

The New York Times and families of Sept. 11 victims sued the city for access to the emergency calls and firefighters’ oral histories. Attorneys said they wanted to find out what happened in the towers after two hijacked jetliners crashed into them and what dispatchers told workers and rescuers in and around the buildings.

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